Slow Food London set a challenge: could regular Londoners go slow for an entire year? Would it be easy? Would it be hard? Would there be times when it would (slowly) start to go wrong?
Here, Susan Paul talks us through her forty-nineth week:
Running a bit low on green vegetables this week I fell back on some good old frozen peas. These are a brilliant “slow” convenience food. I used them to make a vibrant green soup achieved by sweating red onions and garlic, adding some cold vegetable stock and defrosted peas which I blended together adding a little salt and some fresh mint after reheating. This is a lovely soup for spring, which we ate with more of my husbands home made soda bread. This time with added thyme and our British cheese for this week, Ducketts Caerphilly, an unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese from Somerset. It was a delicious combination.
Other good things have been: some short, fat, ridged cucumbers which are good enough to eat alone but which we had with some fresh crab meat on brown bread and butter; a chunky piece of hake which I roasted with root vegetables and added green leaves and a dressing of rapeseed oil, blackberry vinegar and mustard; leftover roast chicken soup with barley, bacon, mint and lemon zest; asparagus with soft boiled eggs and sourdough toast; leftover lamb with finely sliced onions, garlic, tatsoi, more of the chunky cucumber, mint vinegar, fresh mint and lemon zest .
I have lots of visitors coming to our home in the next couple of months and am trying to get organised by making a few things ahead of time. This week it was rhubarb and ginger ice cream, simply made with rhubarb stewed in some brown sugar, stem ginger, some syrup form the ginger jar and some thick cream. It was a pleasure to make and I think it tastes very good but I will have to wait to see what our visitors think. I am also hoping to make lemon curd ice cream, which is good with the summer berries still to come.
The “eating” apples are pretty much finished for now but we are still eating conference pears for breakfast as well as stewed Bramley “cooking” apples. Also there are still lots of lovely apples juices of numerous varieties which have featured regularly since the challenge – ours come from Ringden Farm.
There were strawberries at the farmers market and they are absolutely lovely and very welcome - t
hey taste much better if they are eaten at room temperature, so remove them form the fridge a couple of hours before you want to eat them.
It may seem that I am spending hours in the kitchen but I’m really not; in fact I think I spend far less time than I did before embarking on the challenge. Also I certainly spend less time thinking about what to have as eating better quality (but not necessarily more expensive) foods, and with the seasons, has reduced the number of options but provided a natural variety of delicious fresh things.